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March 17, 2010 > Parks bear brunt of budget cuts

Parks bear brunt of budget cuts

By Meenu Gupta

Residents expressed concern over the City of Newark's decision to reduce maintenance in Bridgepointe Park, Mayhews Landing and Mirabeau Park.

Following budget reductions, irrigation has been turned off at these parks. The turf area will be mown once or twice a year. Play apparatus will continue to be inspected daily but the refuse bins will only be emptied once a week. The decision to reduce maintenance at three of the city's parks will save the city $3.4M - it costs $75,000 per annum to maintain each park.

"Newark has a total of 122 acres of parkland and we only have five Park and Landscape maintenance staff to tend to it," said City Manager John Becker.

Residents wondered why Council had selected these three parks and decided to continue maintaining LakeShore Park and the median strip along Lake Boulevard.

Maintenance Superintendent Susie Woodstock clarified that the three parks have not been singled out. Maintenance of all City parks has been significantly reduced. Residents are worried the poor condition of parks, with dead grass, could impact property values and that $500,000 will eventually be required to renew turf in each one.

"Let us work with you, let us help you to overcome the hard times. We've a number of solutions to keep our parks green and functional," said Newark resident and mother of two, Gaby Ondrasek.

Some residents, who attended the meeting, suggested funds might be saved by persuading businesses to adopt a park. Elementary school children asked staff to save the parks. The "Save Our Parks" group offered to keep the parks mown and watered through collaborative efforts.

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